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Win in Finale Sends Nipmuc Boys Lax to Tourney
It came down to the wire, but the Nipmuc boys lacrosse team earned a spot in the district tournament by virtue of its 11-3 win over Auburn in the final game of the regular season. Head coach Ron Hamwey, finished his first year at the helm of the program, said the victory was huge for the program, even if he would have preferred it had happened a little sooner.
"I think it says a lot about the culture we are trying to build here," Hamwey said. "I think the kids have bought into what I am trying to teach them both on and off the field and they have bought into everything we are trying to do as students, athletes and people. That's what's allowed us to make that playoff push and continue our season." Going into the finale with
an 8-9 record, Hamwey challenged his players. "We knew our final game on the schedule was May 30 and it was up to them if they wanted to play after that day," he said. "They used it as motivation, they didn't want their season to end." A number of players have been instrumental in the Warriors' run to the district tournament this spring. Christian Moss,
a junior, has been solid on face-offs and has added scoring when needed. Colby Hagerty returned from injury and gave the team a significant boost, adding his experience as a senior and his IQ for the game. Junior goalie Aidan Hayes has also shown marked improvement throughout the year. "He has shown a lot of upside the second half of the season," Hamwey said. "He is commanding the defense and being a vocal leader out there." Defense is where the Warriors have shown the most improvement, averaging around seven goals allowed per game, an average that has dropped in recent weeks. Dan Cook returned to the lineup after missing four games due to a concussion and the impact was palpable. "The defense has been a lot more in synch with one another, Dan coming back allowed us to anchor the defense and become more steady," Hamwey said, "and the offensive is getting better in large part due to Colby being a dangerous player." And if there is any advantage to not punching a playoff ticket until the final game of the year, it's that Nipmuc has already had a taste of a "win or go home" scenario before the district tournament. "It gave us an opportunity to play our last regular season game with that playoff mentality," Hamwey said. "As much as I wish we could have punched out ticket earlier, it was a blessing in disguise."




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